Elijah's Song

Elijah was so grateful for the cancer care he received he wrote a song in tribute to his care team.

Patient Elijah at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
Published in Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Latest News and Stories

Elijah always had music inside of him. 

But it would take a brave personal journey for him to truly discover it. 

Last September, a painful lump on the 10-year-old’s right knee led to a frightening diagnosis. Elijah had osteosarcoma, an aggressive type of bone cancer. 

He had recently lost his great grandfather to cancer, making the news of his own diagnosis especially difficult for him. 

“I just instantly knew that I didn’t want to go through this,” Elijah says. “I sort of broke down.” 

But Elijah would learn that he was in good hands. He was admitted to the cancer unit at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, named among the top 50 hospitals in the country for pediatric cancer care for 2023-2024 by U.S. News & World Report.

Seasoned oncology experts wasted no time implementing a strong treatment plan for Elijah. The staff surrounded the boy and his family with support, doing all they could to help them feel empowered and encouraged for the challenging journey ahead. 


The earliest chemotherapy rounds were the hardest.

The family recalls one day when Elijah was lying in bed, feeling scared and nauseous from the treatments that were so necessary to save his life. 

Just then, a gentle knock on the door. 

A friendly young woman enters with a guitar and an offer. Would Elijah like it if she played music for him? He very much would. 

Music therapist Rachel Beverly, MT-BC, positions herself near the distressed patient and begins to play. Slowly, the soothing chords quiet the child and help ease his pain. His body relaxes. 

“She put him in a whole other world of comfort,” says Elijah’s mom, Sheena. “He drifted off to sleep like there was nothing else in the world besides him and the music.” 

It was just the beginning of a special collaboration.

Over the course of Elijah’s treatments, Beverly kept coming back, at first simply to play music while Elijah listened, but gradually introducing other instruments. To his delight, she even taught him chords on the ukulele, and they played songs and sang together.

Elijah, normally shy and reserved, began to open up about his feelings. 

“Music can be a therapeutic bridge for kids,” Beverly says. “I love doing this work with them. They are just so grounded and honest and funny.” 

As the months ticked by, each time Elijah was admitted into the hospital, he was a little more confident and a little less frightened. Even with the challenging treatments, he began to look forward to coming. The doctors and nurses who were working so hard to make him well had also become his friends. 

“They were just an all-around phenomenal staff,” Sheena says. “I couldn’t ask for more from a group of people who not only understood what Elijah was going through, but who also were able to lift us up throughout this journey.” 

As Elijah neared the end of his treatments, he was excited over his progress — but he also found himself a little sad to leave. 

Beverly had a suggestion for Elijah. What if he were to write a song to let people know how he felt? 

“At first I didn’t think I could do it,” Elijah says. “But then we started talking about ideas.” 

Elijah knew he wanted to write a song that would make people happy. He wanted to say thank you. 

As special memories of his time at Johns Hopkins All Children’s came to mind, he would share them with Beverly.

Gradually, the lyrics came together, a melody took form — and soon Elijah had written a song that expressed his whole heart. It was time to share it. 

Big Day 

Bell ringing day in the cancer unit is always special — a day when a patient marks the end of treatment and the beginning of a new chapter. 

On May 24, staff, family and friends had gathered round to cheer for Elijah as he rang the ceremonial bell. But he had a surprise in store. Earlier, Elijah and Beverly had recorded his song to play for just this moment. 

A hush fell over the group as Elijah’s Thank You song was heard up and down the halls of the cancer unit. 

“There was not a dry eye,” Sheena says. “It was beautiful to hear through this song that my son understood what he had overcome — and that he made amazing friends and that he was so appreciative. His strength came through in his song.”

Elijah sums it up simply. 

“I just love this place,” he says. 

He made sure everybody knew. 


Thank You Song 
Thank you for your love and support 
Thank you for being there for me 
You were always there for me 
All the times I cried. 
We played a lot of funny jokes and pranks 
Just to make me happy 
You were always there for me when I needed you most 
And it helped me heal. 

This is my goodbye song 
To everyone who cared for me 
And I will keep you all forever in my heart.

This is my goodbye song 
To everyone who cared for me 
And I will keep you all forever in my heart. 

Thank you for all the fun times we’ve shared 
I wrote this song just for you 
You guys got me through my ups and downs 
And I’ll always remember you 

And I’ll always remember you. 

Elijah's Song